Projects through the years

Humanism society members are very active in a number of outreach, service, educational, and other types of projects that help to promote humanism and to provide humanistic role models for students, staff, faculty and patients. These projects are generally initiated by students and maintained as part of the Chapman society service-oriented mandate. Projects have included:

2011 Veterans Administration Hospital Oral History Project

This project was created by Paul O’Rourke in 2011. 3 undergraduate volunteers – after HIPAA training and history taking classes – were involved in this program initially. They each went to the VA Hospital, specifically the physical rehabilitation center. They went to the VA Geriatrics unit and interviewed one of the current resident patients about their lives and interests. After the interview, they wrote up a focused biography. They then gave a copy to the patient and the geriatrics unit at the VA where it was distributed to all members of the health care team and discussed at the health care team meeting that occurs weekly. In this way, all of the health care workers could have a more complete understanding of who their patient is as many of them do not have the time available for an in depth social history.

2010 White Coat Ceremony Project

This project aimed to remind second year students of the idealism and humanism with which they entered medical school. It was initiated by J. Grant Harrell in 2010.

2010 Empathy Emergency

Started in 2010, the Empathy Emergency offered first and second year students an opportunity to shadow fourth year students on clinical rotations and thus to reconnect with their passion for patient care and work with patients.

2009 PACE Project

This project aimed to generate enthusiasm among young women participating in PACE for careers in health care fields, bringing these students to the Health Science Center for a day. It started in 2009.

2009 Random Acts of Kindness Blog

This blog highlighted wonderful, humanistic acts as carried out by all members of the Health Science Center and served as a reminder of everyday humanism, and began in 2009.

2008 HOPE Project

The Hospice Outreach and Patient Enrichment (HOPE) Project focused on providing a human connection between Gainesville’s high school students and local Hospice patients. The HOPE program was designed to celebrate the lives of terminally-ill patients by creating a legacy of their experiences through the use of photography, video cameras, interviews, and essays. A group of 25 high school students selected for their maturity, intent, and commitment participated in sessions at a Hospice facility. During each visit, 2-3 students were grouped with a Hospice patient and encouraged to develop a friendly relationship with them. The students were encouraged to document this experience with various forms of media and ultimately this was used to form a collaborative memoir of all the students’ experiences with the patients. Our hope is that these students gained an invaluable experience about difficult subjects such as life-and-death issues, family dynamics, and the special needs of terminally-ill patients. In turn, we hope that the students provide an uplifting experience for the patients by providing their youth, individuality, interest, and open ears.

2007 Chapman Society Discussion Series

This series uses brief readings, mentoring by current GHHS/Chapman members and discussion to foster a greater understanding of humanism and support for humanistic practice in first and second year medical students, and has been in place since 2007.


The Chapman Society was proud to present performances of “BALL – A Traumedy”, by Brian Lobel, in 2006 and 2007. Brian Lobel has one ball – and this is his story. BALL is a solo performance about illness, struggle and survivorship. In this 70 minute piece, Brian attempts to answer the following question: in a world of Lance Armstrong-style successes and victories, what’s an awkward, unathletic, average testicular cancer patient to do? This is not your mother’s illness drama. BALL sees all of the disgusting parts of cancer not as things which should be changed into things beautiful or inspirational. Instead, the sperm bank, the catheters, and the hair loss take center stage in all their glory, in a manner which is honest, irreverent and, ultimately, healing. BALL was the first solo performance to be awarded the Hopwood Drama Award at the University of Michigan, a creative writing award made famous by its most well-known former winner, Arthur Miller. More details:

2005 Art of Medicine Posters

These posters are a project put together by Chapman Society members of the Class of 2007.

2004 High School Mentoring

This is the oldest of the Chapman/GHHS Projects, having started in 2004, it brings high school students and Chapman Society members in contact both in high schools and at the Health Science Center. Each year offers a slightly different focus and approach. An example of the project is a high school outreach effort followed by bringing in high school students for 8 after-school sessions that included focused arts-in-medicine activities, hands-on projects, Health Science Center tours, food, and discussion.